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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe Review

Introduction

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe is the sleeker, stylish and more carefree sibling to the standard Mercedes-Benz GLE luxury SUV. While Mercedes calls it a “coupe,” this is no two-door affair. Similar to a BMW X6, Audi Q8 and new Porsche Cayenne Coupe, the GLE Coupe retains four doors and quite a bit of SUV practicality thanks to its rear cargo area. It separates itself stylistically from the standard GLE with a sloping rear roof that gives the GLE Coupe a fastback design.

Unlike the standard Mercedes-Benz GLE, there is no third-row option in the GLE Coupe. And as you might infer from its name, the GLE Coupe comes from the performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG division. That means more standard power, with your choice of a 429-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder in the GLE 53 Coupe or a 603-hp twin-turbo V8 in the maniacal AMG GLE 63 S Coupe.

You’ll pay more for the GLE Coupe vs. the standard GLE, but hey, nobody ever said power, style and cachet come cheap.

What’s New?

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe is all-new. This marks the second generation of the model, and follows the debut of the latest-gen GLE SUV. See the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Sports-car manners, SUV-like practicality
  • Loads of luxurious and high-tech features
  • On- and off-pavement capability
  • Comprehensive safety suite

What We Don’t

  • Pricing is for the privileged
  • SUV-as-coupe styling isn’t for everyone

How Much?

$76,500 to $116,000 (plus $1,050 destination charge)

Fuel Economy

The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe features the German automaker’s excellent turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with electric supercharger and 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It is rated at 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque and includes a performance version of Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. The EPA rates the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe at 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. Power is sent through a 9-speed automatic transmission.

The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe is even mightier, boasting a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that makes 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. It also boasts a high-performance AWD system and also uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. EPA figures for this model are 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway/17 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe ($76,500) includes MB-Tex synthetic leather upholstery, wood or aluminum interior trim, heated front seats, 21-in wheels, keyless entry with hands-free power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, panorama roof, 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats, power-folding side mirrors, power-adjustable steering wheel, 64-color LED interior lighting, and universal garage opener.

The standard roster of tech is impressive and includes dual 12.3-inch displays – one for the instrument cluster, the other for infotainment – plus navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, five USB-C ports, wireless phone charger and an excellent 13-speaker Burmester audio system.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe ($116,000) includes the more powerful engine, 6-piston front brakes, Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and AMG Active Ride Control with Roll Stabilization.

As with other Mercedes luxury vehicles, plenty of options are available for the GLE Coupe. They range from a slick augmented-reality system that overlays real-time navigation directions over video of the road ahead to Multicontour massaging front seats. Other goodies include heated second-row seats, heated and cooled front cupholders, quad-zone climate control, an even higher-end Burmester audio system, head-up display, soft-close doors, in-cabin fragrance and air-cleaning system, and MBUX gesture-control system.

The Driver Assistance Package Plus package adds features like adaptive cruise control and evasive steering assist.

Safety

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe includes active safety features like forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring (with active control to prevent a collision in 63 S models), a driver-attention monitor, and Mercedes’ PRE-SAFE systems that can tighten seatbelts and close windows if a crash appears imminent.

We’d suggest spending the $1,950 for the Driver Assistant Plus package. In addition to adaptive cruise control with stop and go, it adds features like lane-keeping assist, active blind-spot assist (included on 63 S), route-based speed adaption and a system that stops the car if the driver becomes incapacitated.

The Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe has not been crash-tested by NHTSA.

Behind the Wheel

If you don’t believe it’s possible for a crossover SUV to behave more like a sports car than a utility vehicle, the GLE Coupe can quickly change your mind. And we mean that literally. Even a base GLE 53 Coupe does 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. If that’s not enough for you, the bonkers GLE 63 S Coupe with its handmade biturbo V8 does 0-60 mph in an estimated 3.7 seconds. Keep in mind this is a 5,390-pound SUV.

Beyond straight-line acceleration, the GLE Coupe seems to further defy physics with manners far more athletic than you’d expect. In reality, most drivers will crave comfort more often than backwoods burning, and we’re happy to report the GLE Coupe is a fine partner for everyday commutes. Various driving modes will tailor this stylish SUV for everything from “comfort” and “slippery” to “trail” and “sand” modes. This is an all-wheel-drive SUV, after all.

In that respect, you also get a commanding and seating position, 5-passenger seating and generous cargo capacity.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 BMW X6 – The forebear of this segment, BMW’s X6 is a sportier, more aggressive and designer take on the X5.

2021 Audi Q8 – This new entrant to the segment is pure Audi – stylish, tech-forward, and an excellent driver. Higher-potency SQ8 and RS Q8 models are available.

2021 Porsche Cayenne Coupe – Another new contender in this segment, Porsche takes a sporty SUV and makes it even sportier.

Used Porsche Cayenne – In reality, even a standard Cayenne delivers amazing manners and good practicality. It’s been around for years and offered in many trims, meaning there’s a good chance of finding a great used model. The latest generation debuted in 2019.

Questions You May Ask

How fast is a Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe?

With a turbocharged 429 horsepower engine, which is boosted by an electric starter motor, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe accelerates to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. The GLE 63 S Coupe hits that mark in an estimated 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph.

How much does the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe cost?

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe has a base price of $76,500. The GLE 63 S begins at $116,000. Add a $995 destination to both prices.

What is the difference between a GLC Coupe and a GLE Coupe?

While the GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe are visually similar, the GLE Coupe – the GLC’s big brother – is larger, more powerful, and more expensive. The GLE Coupe offers 60.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more spacious than the 49.4 cubic foot cargo compacity of the GLC Coupe.

Autotrader’s Advice

With a starting price of over $76,500, there’s no doubt it takes some bucks to get into a GLE Coupe. And keep in mind this price is before options. We think the GLE 53 Coupe should satisfy most buyers. At nearly $40,000 more, the GLE 63 S Coupe is a big ask, even with its hand-built engine and added performance. But we also know that, for those with the means, the heart gets what the heart wants. Find a Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class for sale

Matt Degen
Matt Degen is an author specializing in interesting news and features about cars. Matt is a longtime lover of both cars and news, as well as the latest technology. He was the past automotive editor of The Orange County Register newspaper and a former board member of the Motor Press Guild, the nation’s largest automotive media association. He holds degrees in Communications and Culinary Arts.... Read More about Matt Degen

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